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Project to transform management of production systems in Miombo-Mopane Woodlands launched

Project to transform management of production systems in Miombo-Mopane Woodlands launched

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and launched a project to transform the management of production systems in Namibia’s Miombo-Mopane Woodlands using an ‘integrated landscape approach’ that is focused on avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation.

The project, launched on Thursday, was implemented by the Ministries of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism as a lead implementer and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform with technical assistance from the United Nations’ FAO.

Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, in a speech read on his behalf by the Executive Director, Teofilus Nghitila, said the event marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Namibian chapter of the Dryland Sustainable Land Management Impact Project.

The project, titled “Integrated landscape management to reduce, reverse and avoid further degradation and support the sustainable use of natural resources in the Mopane-Miombo belt of Northern Namibia,” is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with US$6 million while the government contributes just over US$172 million.

Shifeta noted that the United Nations General Assembly declared 2021-2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. “This recognizes the need to massively accelerate global restoration of degraded ecosystems, to fight the climate crisis, enhance food security, provide clean water, and protect biodiversity on the planet,” he said.

“The scale of restoration will be key, for example, the Bonn Challenge has the goal to restore 350 million hectares (almost the size of India) of degraded terrestrial ecosystems by 2030,” the minister said in a statement.

According to Shifeta, the Miombo-Mopane Woodland ecoregion in the Okavango and Kunene basins is facing extensive degradation. He said it is caused by deforestation, unsustainable land use and production practices, coupled with poverty and worsened by the impacts of global climate change.

The Miombo-Mopane Woodland ecoregion supports many rural communities that rely on naturally resilient ecosystems for food, nutrition, shelter, medicine, fiber, and the availability of water.

Shifeta also noted that the project was implemented as part of the government’s commitment to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s goal to attain Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2040.

The assistant FAO Representative in Namibia, Ferdinand Mwapopi, said Namibia’s expression of interest was selected as second best in almost 20 concept notes after Mongolia. He also said the project management unit, induction, and onboarding sessions took place this year.

“This is a five-year journey that offers a catalytic country-driven and innovative outlook on how to avoid reduced and reversed land degradation and deforestation of our ecosystem. This is also a Namibian project to be implemented by Namibians that will benefit locals,” Mwapopi said.

Shifeta revealed that the project focal areas are in parts of the Oshikoto, Omusati, and Kavango East regions, where their assessment revealed land degradation is the greatest.

In response, the Kavango East Governor, Bonifatius Wakudumoappealed to the residents of his region to ensure that together they develop mechanisms and strategies to overcome most of their environmental problems by implementing the strengths of this project.


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